In order to summon the Christmas spirit in these difficult times, we toured a certain number of houses lit up and decorated in the true American tradition! From San Francisco to Walnut Creek, here are a few examples of must-see places. A seasonal family activity, open to all and free (except the last one on the list).
In San Francisco: of course our list is not exhaustive, and for a more complete tour we invite you to follow the Instagram account of Michael Victor aka The415guy. He has also put up a map of the houses on his website and very often shows them to you in his Instagram stories. He inspired part of our journey. Photos by ©MerciSF
- The most famous is the Tom & Jerry’s House. With its 60 feet-high tree, mini roller coasters and other decorations of all kinds, this house is a must-see in San Francisco. It is owned by Tom Taylor and Jerry Goldstein. The sad news of Tom Taylor’s passing this year in October gives even more aura to this extravagant house where the magic of Christmas operates on young and old. Address: 3650 21st street, San Francisco
- The most eternal: at each seasonal time of the year, the house which is at the crossroads at 45 Upper Terrace, is decorated in the seasonal theme. Around Christmas, the majestic Nutcrackers lining up the staircase and Santa in the garden are really worth the trip. Also try to spot the electric train in the vestibule if the door is open.
- The most collective: Not to be missed, this little dead end street which is adorned with an illuminated Christmas scene, created by the neighbors; especially for the photo in front of this Golden Gate Bridge all lit up with its sleigh. Address: Dellbrook (x Glenview)
- The most “swinging”: it is not really a house but a swing suspended between two luminous trees and located at the end of Cherry Street. A golden photo opportunity!
East Bay: we collaborated with Virginie, a French resident living in the East Bay in Walnut Creek. She took a little tour of the craziest houses in her surroundings. A great family moment of which you can find the best moments as well as videos of the houses on her Instagram account Somewhere Over The Bridge. She tells us about her selection and shares her photos.
- 219 Rock Oak Road, Walnut Creek
“The house of a teacher from our school. For years they have decorated their home in honor of the children and grandchildren of the family. Each car on the train is named after a child”
- 771 Terrapin Ct, Concord
Certainly the craziest house in the area, which in fact creates huge traffic jams. Even at 9:30 pm there were still people. People flock to admire this castle and its 400 illuminated characters. More than two months are needed to install everything according to the father of the family. And behind the castle there is a space dedicated to Star Wars. More information in this East Bay Times article
- 5390 Aspenwood Ct, Concord
The house and its Christmas radio station. Just sit in the car on front of the house car and watch the central luminous figure dancing to the sound of music.
- 4408 Grays Ct, Concord
Nice decoration with a giant stocking for each child in the family.
In the Peninsula
- Filoli Gardens : the historic House and its garden remains open for outdoor activités only (and the shop). Book a ticket for their evening hours showcasing all their Holiday Season lights installation throughout the gardens. (photo © Filoli )
Reservation only, click here